Do-It-Yourself Social Media Strategy: Plan The 5 Essentials | Aprosae - Michelle West | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Do-It-Yourself Social Media Strategy: Plan The 5 Essentials

teacher avatar Aprosae - Michelle West, Training / Consulting / Speaking

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Choose Your Social Media Platforms


    • 3.

      Social Media Is One Piece of the Puzzle


    • 4.

      The 5 Essentials and Your Class Project


    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.

      Content: Types of Posts


    • 10.

      Content: Content Calendar


    • 11.

      Content: Other Considerations


    • 12.

      Content: Measure and Modify


    • 13.

      Social Media Adds More Pieces to The Puzzle


    • 14.

      What's Next


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In the social media sea of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, and more, how can you navigate those waves? By charting the course with a social media strategy!

If you have a hobby, side hustle, small business, or nonprofit that you need to promote, but aren’t quite sure how to best market it though social media, this class will show you how to plan a social media strategy that will increase your following and reach you, and your followers’, goals!


I've specialized in starting and leading marketing departments for over 2 decades, and that's included finding the right social media strategy that reaches the goals of the organization. This class will teach you how to do that for your own marketing venture!

By the end of this class, you'll have learned:

  • How to choose which social media platforms to manage
  • How social media fits into the larger picture of marketing
  • How to set social media goals that will accomplish what you want
  • Who your audience is and what they want from your social media
  • What resources you need to implement your plan
  • How to brand your platforms
  • What the 4 types of posts are that can increase your following
  • Why posting isn't the only thing you should do, and
  • How to measure your strategy's effectiveness in reaching your goals.

Through our class project, you’ll apply this knowledge to your own social media strategy. Your strategy won't just sit as a file on your computer, it will have what you need to implement your social media plan in real life. 


Yes! This class is for anyone who needs to promote anything on social media. All you need is provided - just download the class project and you’re ready to learn how to best reach your social media goals.


I'm looking forward to seeing what you discover that'll make your social media efforts more effective! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Aprosae - Michelle West

Training / Consulting / Speaking



Aprosae is a strategic planning and marketing agency that provides training, consulting, and speaking services. Michelle West, our founder, will also be posting classes on topics she's trained and/or experienced in, including the fields of business, creative arts, foreign language, and fitness.

Thanks for stopping by and please follow us so you get word of when we release our new classes! 


For more information, you can visit any of the links to the left, or see Michelle West's LinkedIn profile at

See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi, this is Michelle West with Aprosae for your class, Do it yourself Social media strategy: Plan the five essentials. We're going to cover The five essentials you need to create a social media strategy for your business, Non-profit, side, hustle, whatever your marketing or promoting to others to be involved with. Have you ever wondered what your followers want to see on your social media platforms? Or maybe you've asked yourself if your followers are engaging more with what you're doing because of your social media efforts. By the end of this class, you'll have a grasp on how to determine these things in a way that will reach your goals. You'll not only learn how to assess what your followers want, but also how to determine how you want your followers to engage more with what you're doing and how to make those two things happen. I've been the head of marketing for over two decades for everything from a non-profit organization to a for profit company to a university. In every organization, I've been tasked with leading the social media strategy for all platforms, and have guided my teams to successfully reach our goals through social media. I've found that by focusing on the following things, you too can create effective social media platforms that motivate others to get involved with what you're doing. In this class, you'll learn about how to choose which social media platforms to manage. How social media fits into the larger picture of marketing. How to set social media goals that will accomplish what you're hoping to get out of it. Assessing who your audiences are and what they want from your social media. Determining what resources you need to implement your plan, how to brand your platforms. What the four types of posts are that can increase your following. Why posting isn't the only thing you should do. And how to measure your plans effectiveness in reaching your goals. And through the class project, you'll have a chart that you'll fill out detailing what you want your followers to do, what your followers want, and what you need to make those two things happen. What I'm really excited about is that you'll learn how this applies to your company, your marketing effort, whatever the reason is that you're taking this class. And the great thing is you don't need any previous experience managing social media to take this class. But if you do this class will only increase your skills. Please note that lesson eight covers branding your social media platforms consistently. If you don't have basic brand standards, which are at a minimum, a logo and the colors and fonts that you've chosen to represent your brand then please consider taking our class titled, Do It Yourself branding: What is it and what do you need to do? That class will lead you to create basic brand standards so your social media platforms all have a consistent look and feel. By the end of this class, you'll have a grasp on how to make the time you spend on social media more strategic and beneficial to your goals and your followers interests. So let's get started. 2. Choose Your Social Media Platforms: I think we all probably know what social media is but the technical definition is social media platforms are interactive, computer-based technologies that facilitate the sharing of content through virtual networks and communities. Practically speaking, we know social media as things like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok. These are the most popular social media platforms at the time of this video's posting. As a side note, all of these used to be called channels. Now more people are calling them platforms. You can also refer to these as your social media accounts. I'll be calling them platforms or accounts in this class. Thought should go into choosing which social media platforms you'll be on. Sometimes what I'll do for my clients is set up several platforms and use a program that posts the same social media post on all of them at one time. This way it's not a lot of extra time, but it allows us to see which platform their followers prefer. One small business I did this for was shocked, as was I, that Facebook was the least popular, and LinkedIn was the most popular. We still kept other platforms, but we knew to put extra effort into LinkedIn and not worry as much about Facebook. Without testing, it can be hard to tell which platform your followers prefer the most. Yet, if you don't have time to manage all this, then choose a platform that has the functions you need most. For example, if you have a very visual product that you're selling, that you photograph frequently, and you rely more on the aesthetics than the written word to sell your product. And, you know, you'll enjoy managing an Instagram profile, but absolutely hate the others, then Instagram could be the primary platform you manage and you could automate posting from what you make on that profile to other platforms. This was a situation I had for another client because we found that their customers kept asking for their Facebook page and asking if they could order off Facebook. It was clear that the platform, my client liked wasn't what the majority of their customers liked. We started a Facebook page and the amount of followers and interactions with their posts and orders went up a lot. So I'd suggest starting with the social media platforms that make sense for your product or service and for those interested in following or buying from you. For example, if your customers are mostly business contacts then Twitter and LinkedIn might make sense. If your customers are mostly people buying for themselves and gifts for friends and family. Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram might be a good place to start. But if you're promoting a product or service to college students, TikTok, Instagram, and maybe Snapchat might be where you want to focus first, it's good to choose the amount of social media platforms that you can manage well and have a handful you're managing so you can test which one suits your customer base best. You can always add more platforms later if you want. Now that you've considered which social media platforms you'll be on, it's important to realize that social media is part of the larger picture of marketing communications. We'll dive deeper into that next. 3. Social Media Is One Piece of the Puzzle: Understanding the broader world that social media as a part of, otherwise known as marketing communications, is valuable because isolating social media by itself will limit the extent to which you can reach your followers with what you're doing. Marketing communications has five main sections. And here's a chart that shows that, which you can download a PDF of in the project section of this class. The document is titled PDF of MarCom chart. The exclamation mark that's in the center of this chart contains the five sections of marketing and fanning out to the left and right are the sub areas for each section. But notice the yellow point on the exclamation mark. That's the conductor, the strategic plan and marketing strategy of the organization. We start with a strategic plan that feeds into the marketing strategy because marketing is supposed to support your marketing effort's overall goals. And from there branding lays the foundation for all marketing efforts. And then you can do marketing, public relations, digital, and internal agency efforts. So where is social media in all this? Digital is comprised of ten main sub-areas. One of which is social media. So when you think about social media, this is really a subset of digital marketing strategies. And it's part of the even larger picture of marketing communications. The reason this is important is because you want to have a coordinated effort with all your marketing efforts. Otherwise, you could just be posting randomly to social media and not capitalizing on everything you could be doing to engage your followers. We'll see how big of an impact your social media strategy can have all your marketing efforts in lesson 13. And this is a very important note for the rest of this class. From here on out, instead of listing all the types of people and entities that this class applies to, like hobbyists, sole proprietors, small businesses, and non-profits, I'll just say you're marketing venture. So please just know that what we're covering applies to everything from a side hustle to a corporation. For now, let's take a look at what the five essentials are to planning a social media strategy and how your class project is going to help you create yours. 4. The 5 Essentials and Your Class Project: The five essential things that go into creating a social media strategy are the goals you have for your social media efforts. The stakeholders you're trying to reach, what resources you need to do those two things. How to brand your platforms consistently, and how to create content that will further your goals. You'll notice on the right side of this circle that goals, stakeholders, and resources are more about planning. And once you have them set, they'll guide you, but not need a lot of revisiting. The left side of the circle with branding and content are more hands-on activities that you actually do on your social media platforms. Branding, like the other previous essentials, is something you'll want to update here and there. But the time you spend on it is more on the front end of setting up your platforms. And content is your ongoing activity. That is the byproduct of all of the other essentials. The content is what engages our stakeholders, our followers, with us and us with them. All of these things come together to create your social media strategy to reach the goals you set out to accomplish. Starting with the next lesson, we're going to dive into what each essential entails and apply that knowledge to our class project along the way. Our class project is going to provide you with what you need to know, to outline what you're reaching for, which is your goal, who you're trying to reach, which is your stakeholders, and what you need to get that done, resources, and what you'll post - your content. We'll do this by using the file for your class project that's under the projects and resources tab of this class. Please go there now and open the file titled Word doc of your social media strategy. You can customize this chart by right-clicking on the existing logo in the document, clicking on Change picture and replacing that with your logo. Now you're ready to flesh out what you want your social media platforms to do for you. 5. Goals: Setting goals for your social media platforms is of utmost importance because it takes time to manage your socials and why spend that time posting things that aren't going to benefit you in the way you want them to. To figure out what you want to get from your social media efforts you can answer these types of questions: Why do you spend your time on social media? What do you need or want to get out of managing social media accounts? What do you want your followers to do as a result of seeing your posts? How do you want your followers to engage on your social media accounts? An important distinction in setting goals is to make sure you specify what you want your followers to do, not what you want them to know. Not that you can't have a goal about informing your followers on this or that. But a real goal is what you want them to do with that information. Each goal should also be measurable. As you look at the goals you're considering, is there a way to measure if you've met that goal and to what degree? A good goal would be one like has had in the past, which was every book ever printed in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds. That's a clear, ambitious, compelling, and one of the things most people miss, Measurable goal. Please open your class project file so we can go through an example of how to do this. We'll go through examples of how to fill this out by looking at our imaginary friend Delilah, who's a graphic designer, getting her name out there so she'll be hired by small businesses in her area. Delilah has this great idea for her social media platforms. She's going to have a campaign where she posts one tip a week on how to create digital art for clients. She's hoping to inform other graphic designers on new techniques and establish herself as an authority with her community at large. She also wants to showcase her digital art projects that she does for her customers or clients. So Delilah puts her goal as inform my community about the latest tips on creating digital art. What does that really her goal? Is it measurable? Both answers are no. Delilah's ultimate goal is to raise awareness of her small business so that other small businesses contract her for graphic design services. They have to know about her existence before they can know to contact her. And they have to see the work she's done for other similar businesses to envision what she can do for them. So her idea of having a campaign about the latest tips on creating digital art is really a social media effort that she hopes will secure those contracts. It's not the most direct idea, but it's not a bad one either. It's one she's passionate about and will help her overcome her distaste for social media because she's passionate about getting these tips and examples of her work out there. So she makes this a goal of hers by changing the goal to raise awareness of my services by showcasing my work. And the social media effort to reach that goal will be use digital art I'm contracted to do as examples of how to create digital art. In her videos, she makes multiple mentions of how she works with her clients to produce the best art they're wanting. And ends the video by noting that she loved to discuss a project with you if your business has a need for any kind of digital art like and then gives examples to get their thought processes going. She then offers a 15-minute free consultation if they're interested in learning more about a project they have in mind. So that social media effort you write on your chart will have a lot of steps to make it happen just like Delilah's. In this column, you'll just summarize what the effort is. For the last column in the goal section titled measure, Delilah is going to go into her social media analytics and say that between all her accounts, she wants to have a minimum of seven views on her weekly video to make this effort worth her while. After three months of weekly posting tips and marketing this campaign to her followers, if she doesn't have one signed contract from a new customer, then she's going to stop the campaign and try something else. What about you? Think about what motivates you right now to create a social media strategy. By focusing on one goal, you'll not only end this class with a roadmap to get that goal accomplished, but you'll also learn the process to get other goals done. It's good to focus on one goal at a time, especially one that you know you can successfully accomplish, or that you have to get done, or you're going to have some hurtful ramifications. When you have success that sets you up for future success because emotionally you're psyched that you got that done but you're also investing in the skill of how to reach your social media goals. If you can't choose between multiple goals you can complete two social media strategies side-by-side as we go through the lessons. Doing two goals side-by-side can also help you see the various nuances of how to reach your social media goals. But some people may be overwhelmed doing two at a time. So if you choose to goals and feel overwhelmed, please drop one and come back to it later. Please pause this lesson and fill out the light blue goals section of your class project. Next, let's look at what stakeholders are and customize your social media strategy to represent your followers interests, and needs. 6. Stakeholders: Equally as important as what you want is what your stakeholders want from your social media efforts. So we have to figure out who our stakeholders, or some people call them audiences, are. Regardless of the size of your marketing venture, you probably have different types of stakeholders or audiences that you're marketing to. Some of the most common examples of stakeholder groups, regardless of the size of your marketing venture, are customers, who are those that buy from you. Partners, which are usually people or organizations that you partner with to promote each other's products or services. And influencers who can be customers and/or partners but they tell others about your brand. Some call these brand ambassadors, but they can be people who just share your post to their social media accounts, or who refer others to you, or even reporters who are interested in covering your stories. Once you figure out who your stakeholders are, you have to figure out what their needs are related to what you're posting. Other ways to look at this are: why are they interested in following your social media accounts? Which differs from: what do they want to get out of your following your accounts? Why do they want to engage with what you're doing? And the very best way to find the answers to these questions is to ask a sampling of people from each stakeholder group these types of questions. You can do this in person or through an online questionnaire. As a side note, finding out this information about your stakeholders is part of market research, which is learning about your target market, also known as stakeholders or audiences, and researching what their needs and wants are related to your product and or service, as well as demographics and behavioral trends. Let's look at Delilah's graphic design small business again. Delilah has two recurring clients or customers, Sam and Pam. Sam has a small art gallery and needs things designed, like brochures, PowerPoint templates, his website, event flyers, and other marketing materials. Pam is a realtor. She gives all the people who buy a home through her a framed digital illustration of their new home that Delilah creates from a photograph that Pam gives her. But also has a lot of friends, family, and community connections and she asks Delilah to occasionally create digital illustrations of their pets and children and then Pam gives the digital illustrations as gifts. These are the only things Delilah knows for sure that her customers or clients lot because she's met with them before. And these are the things they're interested in paying for. She now can ask others to fill out her online questionnaire and /r meet with others in person to get a bigger picture of what potential customers and/or clients want. This is how Delilah would fill out her social media strategy for her customers as stakeholders. Please pause this lesson and fill out your chart for any customers or clients you have. Delilah then moves on to partners. Let's see how she'd fill out her class project chart for one of her examples. She works with her local library district every year to display her digital art at each of their branches. The libraries need is that they want to support the local art community and they want to feature the art because the artists being featured spread the word about their exhibit at the library branches and that brings in new patrons. And Delilah adds her influencers. One of her top examples is her best friend Nick. Nick is a cyclist who has a huge social media following because he competes in national cycling competitions and charitable races. So about every quarter he features some of Delilah's new work on his platforms. Delilah really isn't sure what Nick's need is. He's a great friend for doing this. But what need he has met by consistently making time to promote her work is something that she isn't sure about. So she asks him, he answers with, I want to help you, but that's not the need it fulfills in him. So Delilah uses the seven levels deep exercise by asking him up to six more questions to get to the real reason. This is how it could look. Delilah asks, why is it important to you to help me? Nick says because it makes me happy. Why does it make you happy? Because it makes you happy. Why is it important to make me happy? Because I spent so much time disappointing people in my teens, I need to make up for being like that. Now we are beneath the surface to what his real reason is. So Delilah continues, why is it important to make up for doing that with me when you haven't disappointed me. Nick says, I guess that it's because I need to show myself that I'm different that I can give without getting anything in return. If Delilah had stopped at the first question, she would have thought she could just meet his need by saying, thanks Nick, this makes me happy. But what Nick really needs is confirmation that he's no longer a selfish person who disappoints others to encourage the real reason Nick has landed upon Delilah could Let him know how much she appreciates the time he spends to promote her business despite the fact that he gets nothing in return. Seven levels deep is a great skill and art, to perfect in getting to the real reason people are engaging with your social media platforms and your marketing venture overall. An online search for seven levels deep can tell you a lot more and there are nuances to how the questions are asked to see beyond the surface answer and to get to the real reason that motivates others. This is how Delilah would fill out her social media strategy for her partners and influencers. Now, if you have or want to have any partners and influencers, please note them now on your social media strategy. Once you've completed this exercise for your social media strategy, you can use it when you plan for other things like building your website or creating a brochure. Now that you know what you want and what your stakeholders want, Let's look at what resources you need to make those things happen. 7. Resources: A social media strategy is necessary for making sure you post things that will reach you and your followers goals. But without considering if you have the resources to get the job done, the strategy could just reside as a digital or printed document that never comes to life. So let's make sure that doesn't happen by looking at what you can sustain in the short and long term. The resources we'll look at are time, talent, money, platforms, assets, marketing, and measures. First is time. Let's use Delilah's social media campaign as an example. Remember Delilah's goal is to raise awareness of my services by showcasing my work. And she's going to do that by using digital art I'm contracted to do as examples of how to create digital art. And her measure of success is that she'll have a minimum of seven views a week and one new contract after three months. When Delilah considers as she has the time to create the videos, she has to weigh in the fact that she's going to be taking a month off during the summer to vacation. She also has a big project for her client Sam that has to be done before she leaves. Factoring these two things, she decides to set a few small goals before her vacation and then will set a firm date to launch the campaign after her vacation. Next up is talent. Does Delilah have or can she hire the talent she needs to create the videos and upload the social media posts. Well, she's never created an instructional video like this and she's not sure where to start. And she doesn't have the budget to hire someone to teach her how to record her screen while she verbally gives instructions, nor does she know how to edit the video in case it needs that. While she does have the expertise to record the video and to post on social media, this analysis of talent resources tells her two things: One, she's going to have to set aside more time to learn the things she doesn't know. And two she's going to have to find resources online or at the library that will teach her how to do them. Moving on to money, since all social media platforms are free, there are no worries there. And she's going to promote a hashtag campaign which will be free. She also has all the software and hardware already to make this campaign happen, except she's not sure about the video editing software that's needed. So she looks that up and finds a free program. Now, she's considered some Facebook ads, so she looks up how much that will cost her and includes that in her budget. And she wants background music for her videos. So she looks the cost up for that and adds that into her budget. In regards to platforms, does she have access to and is she set up on the platforms she needs to make this campaign happen? Well, she uses social media in lieu of a website so she can't host the videos there. Her fellow graphic designers use YouTube to host their videos, and she wants to do the same, especially since one of them volunteered to teach her how it all works. So she needs to plan a time with that person, set-up her YouTube channel, and host her videos there. She's on all the other social media platforms she wants and needs to be on. So she only needs to set up YouTube. Moving on to assets. Assets is referring to whether you have the digital and physical assets you need for a campaign. Digital can be things like photographs, videos and software. Physical could be things like cameras and computer hardware. In Delilah's example, will she need stock photography or B-roll for the video she's creating? She doesn't think so. Does she have all the software and hardware that's needed? She has the laptop computer and software she needs, but her computer's built-in camera has horrible resolution and even worse audio. So she's going to use screen capture for her videos and buy a good microphone if she can't find one to borrow. If she has to buy one, she'll add that to the money section above. Now, let's talk about the resource of marketing. Do you have the ability to market this campaign or all the social media posts that come from it? Because remember we are all a needle in the haystack of our followers' feeds. So having some marketing efforts to get the word out about your brand on social media will help move the needle more toward achieving your goal. In Delilah's example, she's going to commit some money to Facebook ads since that's her most active platform amongst small businesses in her area, which is who she is ultimately trying to reach since her goal is about getting more contracts for graphic design work. She's also going to see which posts on all platforms is getting the most interactions and then add a link to that post where applicable, like in an e-mail footer. In regards to measures, is there a way you can measure the effectiveness of your social media campaign and/or post? You'll be better able to answer this question after lesson 12 of this class. But just know that you can measure how people are interacting with your posts from the analytics that your social media platforms have. But you have to go in there and look periodically and then modify your strategy based on those findings. Delilah is going to monitor the analytics on her Facebook ad campaign daily. As you can see, by going through all these categories in thinking through what you'll need, you'll find some overlap, like when Delilah realized she needed a microphone in the assets category and would likely need to add that to the earlier category of money because she didn't think about that need then. That's why it's important to go through each category because one category will bring some things to mind that others don't. After going through all of them, you'll likely think through most of all you need to successfully complete your project. After thinking through all of the types of resources she might need, Delilah fills out her social media strategy like this. It's your turn now, think through what resources you'll need all these areas and fill out your social media strategy accordingly. Now, having gone through the first three essentials, you need to plan for a social media strategy you should know if what you have planned for is doable or not. If so, you're ready to move on to the two remaining essentials that are more hands-on implementation, branding, and content. If not, then you can just adjust your goals and the efforts necessary to reach that goal so that it's doable. So let's move on to branding your social media platforms consistently. 8. Branding: The next two essentials, branding and content, are more hands-on than the previous three. That's because they require actual hands-on work in social media platforms that you're managing. In this lesson we'll cover Branding your social media platforms. Branding is the use of a distinctive design and culture of a name, symbol, or any other feature that identifies a seller's products and/or services. In simple terms, your brand is the look you portray and the feel people have as they experience your brand. If we're not intentional and coordinated about our branding, people can get mixed messages about what we represent. To brand your platforms consistently, you need basic brand standards at a minimum, which are what your logo is and what colors and fonts you've chosen to represent your brand. Please make sure you establish this before you move forward with implementing your social media strategy. First, it's helpful to check all your social media platforms for the consistent use of your logo, colors and fonts. Specific things to look for on your logo are: is the same logo used on all platforms?. Is the same background used, preferably a transparent or no background is preferred, and that file should be a PNG file. Is your logo clear versus fuzzy? And is your full logo showing meaning it isn't cropped or cutoff when you look at it after uploading it. This is a step that many forget to do. They upload their logo, cover image, and/or profile picture, click Save, and don't look at how it looks on a desktop computer and a smartphone at a minimum. You'll want to check how the platforms are displaying what you've uploaded to make sure everything's displaying the way you want it to, regardless of the device your stakeholders are viewing your page on. Speaking of cover images, profile pictures and the like, your brand colors and fonts, if applicable, should be used to find the right dimensions for things like cover images as well as design templates. has some good free options to make this easier for you. Each social media platform will also have what dimensions they need if you design these things yourself. Secondly, having common social media handles and website address is ideal. Social media handles are what your account's name is. Like, slash my brand's name. And then when your partners share a post of yours, they'd use @mybrandsname. That's your handle. If you can have all your handles and website address as the same thing, that's ideal and you're done with this step. This will make it clear to those visiting any of your digital spaces that they've reached your brand. And if they know your brand's name, then they might just type in or And they'll find it quickly. These are all advantages because people's attention spans online are short and nimble. If something's hard to find a digital ad, clickbait or something else, will move them on to the next thing if it's too hard or confusing to figure out if they've found your brand online. If it isn't possible to have the same social media handles and website address, then don't worry, it's not an unusual situation. The goal in this case is to make them all as consistent as possible. One organization I worked for had a brand name that was used by a lot of others in their industry. So the website address and social media handles were all taken as well as the other abbreviations of their name that one would expect. So they agreed upon a handle that embodied their mission, and was available on all current and future social media platforms that they were on or would ever want to be on. So we then secured that handle on every platform. And then we made sure that handle was on every piece of marketing material they had. This is a much needed step that some forget to do. If your handle doesn't match your brand and website address, then you have to inform people of what it is and having your handle express what you do or what your mission is also helps inform people about what you're all about. Third, you'll want to make sure you have common about us and contact information on all your social media platforms. With small businesses, I often see them not having even their website address and other pertinent information on all social media platforms as well as Google My Business and Yelp. So forget to put the social media icons linking to their platforms on the footer of their website. These are basics that should be done with the setup of your social media accounts and website. The nice thing is that this is one of the easiest things to do, and once it's done, it rarely changes, if at all. Lastly, you can determine what visual style you want to represent your brand. Are you going to use photos with smiling faces that are looking at the camera? Are you going to use images that mostly show action or are more artistic and pensive? This is when you'll define the look and feel you want your brand to have on your social media platforms. so people know when they are on your social media accounts because they feel your brand's consistent image. And one last side note is that once you brand your social media platforms, it's a good idea to give them a facelift in accordance with your brand standards every so often, which might be just once a year. You can upload a new cover photo and make sure your about us and contact information is still current and that's about all you have to do. And that's a wrap for branding your social media accounts. Let's move on to the last essential for a social media strategy, which is also all about implementation. What content you'll put on your social media platforms. 9. Content: Types of Posts: Content is the last essential that your social media strategy needs and is another essential like branding that will require hands-on work to be done. Because this hands-on work is ongoing at least weekly the next three lessons will break down numerous ways to add and manage content on your social media platforms. So how do we know what kind of content we should post? Whether it's a photo on Instagram or a tweet on Twitter there are four main types of posts that you can start with. Those four main types are curating, sharing, promoting, and creating. We'll look at each one in greater detail. Posts that are the curating type are posts that you collect from other sources. With posts you curate, it's similar to the function that an art gallery owner does. The owner goes to different places to find works of art that he can display in his gallery. You can do the same thing for your social media platforms. Let's think about Pam, who is a realtor. Pam's goal for her social media accounts is to get referrals for and attract new residential buyers and sellers to use her as their realtor. She wants to curate posts from sources that feature desirable aspects about the communities she sells in. She finds a video about empty nesters downsizing their home and buying a new one. And shares the link to that website with a post that talks about how she's helped empty nesters do the same thing. She also copies the website address off the home renovation expo's About page includes that in a post that she has about home ownership and renovating your home when you are ready to sell. The benefit Pam's giving her followers is that they can go to one account to get information about their area on the topic of buying and selling their home. Instead of following a ton of pages. Then when people need a realtor or know someone who needs one, they'll think of her. The reason curating is important is that it gives variety to the posts you share. So that the posts aren't just all about what you have to offer. Your account also becomes a resource for others, which gives them more motivation to visit your account and keep your posts coming into their feed. On to the next type of posts are the sharing type. Posts you share are usually from partners, influencers and other accounts that have a common purpose as yours. So their content is relevant to why your followers follow your account. First, you'll want to figure out who among your partners, influencers, and other relevant accounts have active social media accounts. And I'd say for this purpose, it's at least posting once or twice a month. These partners also need to have posts that will be of value and interest to your followers while remaining on topic for what your social media account is all about. Once you have that list, you can schedule out posting these sharing posts. You'll just go to that other account, share a relevant post they made and tag them with their handle by typing the @ sign and their handle. Using the example of Pam the Realtor, she could go monthly into her city's social media account and find articles that talk about the community she sells in and share their posts. In this instance, a post from the city about a new water park in a community could be useful and desired information for her followers. She could also follow the local chambers of commerce and share their posts about new businesses that people will be excited to hear about. Sharing posts are important because by sharing other social media accounts, posts to your account, you're creating community. Also, those other accounts could return the favor by starting to share your posts, which broadens your reach. If they don't start sharing your post after you've shared many of theirs, Don't be afraid to ask them to share yours. When you have something their followers would like. An important point to be aware of when curating and sharing, whether it be other social media accounts or external links, is that they should not be competitors, controversial, or content that's off topic to what your account is about. Notice that the top half of this pie or circle has curating and sharing, both of which are more about posting content that others have created. While the bottom half of promoting and creating is more about posting content you create about what your marketing venture is. So let's move on to the promoting type of posts. Now is the time to promote your products and or services directly and unashamedly. Your followers are following your content to learn about what you have to offer. This is pure advertising to your existing and potential customers. If Pam were to do this, she could be direct and ask people in her post if they know of anyone who is buying or selling and to refer them to her. Another promoting post could be her telling people about why they should use her as their agent. She could mention her days on market statistics, how she has a shorter time than average to get your house on the market. How she gets her sellers, their asking price or better x percent of the time. And other statistics that will encourage others to trust her with the purchase or sale of their home. Promoting posts are important because many times people act upon direct asks for something. They may look at your posts and value the information you give them, but they might not make the connection of, Oh, I need what they're selling or promoting! until you directly ask them to make a purchase. The last type of post is the creating type. These are posts where you create information about the topic your social media accounts ARE about. Examples of these posts could be Awareness Months, blog posts you write, and media coverage you've been featured in. You are the expert, the one creating content for these posts. For Pam's creating posts, she interviews a client who is a recent first-time homeowner and creates an inspirational testimony about home ownership for first-time buyers on her blog. She then shares a link to that article on her social media platforms. Another creating post Pam develops is she promotes the awareness month of fair housing month in April and talks about the efforts she's made to be inclusive to all buyers and sellers, including her ongoing commitment to learning sign language for her Deaf clients. Why creating types of posts are important is because it gives your followers a chance to hear from you and see things from your perspective while sharing post create community, Creating posts also create a relationship between you as a spokesperson for your brand and industry and your followers. Now that we've covered the four main types of posts, I suggest you start with evenly breaking those up so that all your posts for the month are Twenty-five percent of each type. And that you alternate the types. So you don't have all creating posts in one week, all sharing in another et cetera. The three lessons to follow, we'll go into how frequent you should post and how to determine if twenty-five percent of each type is right for your social media accounts. As a side note, you can use online platforms like HootSuite or buffer to post one social media post to multiple platforms at one time. These platforms usually have a free trial or version to try out or even use on an ongoing basis. So an online search for social media management tools will yield a lot of results you can use to compare features and pricing. I personally use the free version of HootSuite. And there are a lot of limitations, but it's also extremely helpful and saving me time when posting the same content on multiple platforms. Next, let's take a look at how a content calendar can make posting to social media so much easier. 10. Content: Content Calendar: What is a content calendar? It's what you see on your social media strategy chart. A content calendar is where you'll plan when you're going to post, what content on your social media platforms. But it should involve some strategy first, since it's not just placing the post on a certain date when you feel like it. To start, you think about how often you're going to post. If at all possible, it's best to post at least once a week. But ideally you want three to five times a week. Yet, If you only have time to post one quality post a week then I'd suggest doing it once a week. Social media can take a lot of time, so make sure you're getting a return on your investment of time. We'll look into this more in Lesson 12. Then, We've already determined that starting with an equal mix of the four types of social media posts is where you can begin. Though this can change later, as we'll also cover in Lesson 12. For now, I suggest only planning out your content calendar three months in advance. After that, you'll look for any hard dates you need to plan for. Meaning, Are there any awareness dates that you have to feature within this upcoming three-month content calendar. Are there any events that take place in this timeframe? And when would you need to schedule those? The posts that have time-sensitive hard dates are plugged into your content calendar first. Then you fill in your chart with the remaining mix You need to get you to the twenty-five percent for each type. Pam did this on her content calendar by putting her post about April's Fair Housing Act awareness month at the end of March. Because she's going to say something like It's only a few days before we kick off this awareness month. And then she'll have another reminder in mid April. Here's how Pam's content calendar looks After two months of posts have been filled out in advance. After you've filled out your social media content calendar, you're done with planning it for the quarter. You can always stay fluid with it. So if you have a hot topic emerge, then you can move the planned post to another month. But now you can write out the post and find an image or video to go with each one. I love planning ahead this way because I'm not stuck that week trying to find something and then making sure each time it fits strategically with what I'm trying to do. You're also lessening the time you spend on social media If you do at least a month's worth at a time. I've found I'm quicker at writing and finding images or videos to go with those posts If I do all one month or a couple of months at a time, just like an assembly line, it cuts time down to do it all at once while your minds in that groove. Another benefit to using a content calendar is that you'll have what's called evergreen content. Meaning there are some posts that aren't time-sensitive and can be used year after year or even maybe once every six months. Remember, your posts are in a feed and depending on how many pages someone follows, your post could be a needle in a haystack of posts. Even if people's feeds don't have a ton of different things they're following. Most people will probably not remember the one post you did six months ago, unless it really meant something to them. And you won't repeat all your posts every six months. So it's usually fine to repost evergreen content every six or more months. If it seems monotonous to you, you can reword that post to sound a bit different and use a new image or video. So feel free to pause this lesson now and fill out your content calendar or come back to it after you've completed this class. Next, let's look at a variety of other considerations you can use on your social media platforms. 11. Content: Other Considerations: There are several other considerations you might want to use on your social media platforms. These considerations are using a visual treatment, using a variety of media, and other platform interactions. First, the visual treatment of a social media post is about two things. What those with a visual disability need and what those with full vision expect to see. For those who have a significant visual disability to where they need to use a screen reader because they aren't able to see the images or read the words of the posts, Any images need to have alt text attached to them or an image description in the post itself when adding alt text isn't an option. If this is a new topic for you, then you can perform an online search for how to add alt text to And then add the name of the social media platform you want to post an image to with alt text. For those with the ability to see the words of your posts and any images or videos you display in them, The visual treatment you need to have with them is simple. It needs to be branded. Lesson eight covers the need for basic brand standards on your social media platforms. So using those colors and fonts and your social media posts is standard. And we covered another layer you can add to that, which is the visual style you're going to use. During the branding stage, you determined what that would be. And here in the content stage, you'll use that style, being mindful with each design, each post, that you're consistent with how it looks and represents your brand. Statistically speaking, people engage more with social media posts when there's a visual aspect to it. Meaning you have some type of visual media attached to the post. So let's move into the variety of visual media you can add to a post. Such as videos, quotes and memes, info graphics, and images. For videos, you can do a man on the streets type of video. It's called Man on the streets because it's those types of videos where someone just catches someone walking on a sidewalk and interviews them off the cuff. As a result, It's usually low budget, low preparation, and sometimes low quality. Many years ago for an organization or business, All their videos used to be professionally made, but with the advent of YouTube and TikTok, man on the street videos are commonly accepted, even among for-profit entities. Keeping these videos to one to three minutes to start is a good idea. So you can get a feel for what your stakeholders like by looking at the analytics for which ones they watch, and for how long they stay with the video. And then if they're dropping off the longer videos after a minute, on average, then you know, to keep the video short. But if they're staying the whole time with the longer videos, then you can play with an even longer video and see how that goes. For quotes and memes, These are good to sprinkle into your content calendar to add variety, inspirational quotes with a nice design, could be what your followers want. By throwing some in here and there You could test it and see. is a good and free design platform that has some templates worth checking out If you don't have a graphic design background. Memes are something I personally think should be approached with caution. Though some people use them effectively. Memes, first of all, might only be known by a certain demographic, which might not be the demographics of your followers. Some may see memes as unprofessional depending on the industry your brand is in, like the more traditionally conservative one of finance. But even if your brand has to do with finance, if you have an avant garde type of business, then select memes might resonate with your audience. If you try memes, I'd suggest starting with a safe one and checking the analytics and comments to see how that post performs and go from there. Yet with any industry memes that use humor, especially off-color humor, is in my professional opinion, something that needs to stay off a professional social media account. It's not worth alienating any of your followers. And humor can be used in other ways, like an inspirational quote from a well-respected authority in your industry. Infographics are usually appealing to a broad audience, especially when designed with a creative bent. While they were predominantly icons with statistics, when they first emerged as a popular marketing tool Infographics have emerged to have a lot of variety to them. Again, is a good way to get your feet wet in doing these by using a template they have and modifying it for your brand or industry. Since these can take a while to design and research the content, I'd suggest trying one a month for three months and seeing if those posts get interactions, likes, shares or comments. And then there are just plain old images or photos. These are usually pretty standard and fine to include an any post. It's important to note that intellectual property law requires that you have the rights to use whatever photos you use that were taken from another source than yourself. And at the time of this lesson's posting, there are some websites where you can get free ones, like at, through HootSuite. If you use HootSuite for your social posting, and You can also buy photos that you'll use for your marketing venture in a way that gives you the legal rights to use them. One way to do this is to employ or contract a person to take the photos for you So you own the rights as long as you've secured the appropriate waivers and such. Another way is you can buy rights to photos from an online photo purchasing website and then use those photos according to the rights given. It's important to know what's legal and what's not in using photography and downloading photos off the Internet could get your marketing venture in trouble and violates the rights of the person who owns that photo. This is a broad comment on the topic of intellectual property rights and does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice, but is for general informational purposes only. Last but not least, is the consideration of other platform interactions. What this means is that many social media platforms have other things you can do to interact with your followers than just creating posts, tweets, and the like. Here are some examples At the time of this lesson's posting. On Facebook, you can create a group and create events where people RSVP. On Instagram and Facebook You can create stories. You can live stream on YouTube and Facebook. You can create a hashtag campaign on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can create idea pins on Pinterest. While this class isn't designed to go into all the other ways, you can create content and interact with your followers In addition to posts, this list covers a handful of ways you can investigate, depending on which social media platforms you're on. I'd recommend looking at the additional ways to interact with your followers For the platform, you have the most interactions on, like comments and shares. Try some of those additional ways to interact and see if there's an increase in the interactions your followers have with you. If there isn't, don't use them. If there is, keep that one going and try to add another one on that platform or another platform. Like a lot in marketing, it's trial and error to see what your stakeholders want from your social media efforts. Now we're ready to talk about how to measure the effectiveness of what you'll do and how and when to modify your social media strategy. 12. Content: Measure and Modify: The last step of making sure your content is what your stakeholders want And if it's helping you reach your goals, is to measure the content's effectiveness by looking at the social media platforms analytics, and then modifying your social media strategy Given those findings. It's important to have data to make marketing decisions and using analytics to measure things like the interactions your social media posts are getting is crucial. This information can uncover how your stakeholders want to be communicated with and contribute to your market research. I would suggest looking at the analytics on your social media platforms quarterly to start with, so that you give your strategy time to see how your followers interact with your content. By starting with an equal mix of the four post types, you'll be able to see if some types resonate with your followers more than others. You can also see if your partners and influencers are returning the favor of posting some of your posts. Since you'll have a variety of things for them to share. After you've posted the post in your content calendar for the first three months, you'll be ready to measure the results and determine if you need to modify the percentages that you use of each type. So let's go into how to do that. Social media analytics are usually built into each social media platform So you just have to login to your admin profile and find where the analytics are. Some times where the analytics reside can change Like it did a lot around the time when Facebook integrated their analytics with Instagram's. So if you find it one quarter and bookmark that link and that link doesn't work the next quarter, just perform an online search for it again, and you'll find it pretty quickly. Each platform will have terms like views, clicks, shares, and reach. And each will usually define what their terms mean So you can make sure you're comparing apples to apples across all your platforms. So how do you know which analytics to look at? I'd suggest looking at the measures or analytics that require a live person to engage or interact with your content. For example, shares indicate when a real person shares your post with others on their feed or in a private message. But a profile visit to me isn't as engaging as a share because the person could have just looked at my page and left. Another example is if someone comments on a post of mine, that's more of the type of interaction I'm looking for than a page view. If you look at all your social media platform's analytics and you see the vast array of things that are measured, it could be overwhelming. That's why I'd suggest looking at any dashboard their analytics defaults to And start there. If you have the interest and time, you can look at the measures They have, the definitions attached to that measure, And choose a handful per platform that measure interaction or engagement, such as likes, comments and shares versus page views and profile visits. With that being said, all analytics have value. So finding what's important to you will take some time But once you have it down for each platform, you can do a quick check every quarter or month So you have the data you need to move on to the next step, which is modifying your social media strategy as needed. Remember we had this pie chart and we have four equal quadrants? Now, we're going to see if we need to change that. Let's say that the curating posts aren't doing bad. They got a good amount of likes and clicks. The sharing posts aren't doing well. They're showing little interactions. But you notice that two partners and one influencer have liked the posts you've shared of theirs. So this is a good thing that they're noticing your effort. That's an important thing. So that when you ask them to share a post of yours, they'll know you're helping them out too and be more open to sharing yours. The promoting posts aren't doing well. One post got one like. And the creating posts are the highest performer are the four types. They're getting comments, shares, likes, and clicks like crazy. So how would you change the percentages for each type? Personally, I would increase the creating posts the most. Then increase the curating posts a bit as well, Thus decreasing the sharing and promoting posts a bit. It's important to give your followers what they're showing you they're interested in. But I'd want to give them more time to show me if they have interests in the other posts that they didn't interact with during the first quarter, Especially because promoting posts are important for sales, which is important for staying in business. And I'd want to see if my other partners and influencers might notice me posting their posts during the second quarter. If they don't, then I'd focus on the partners and influencers that notice I'm sharing their content. So each quarter will vary on how you change the percentages. Once you've gone through four quarters, you'll probably start to get the feel for what your followers want and Can modify your strategy a tad here and there. Instead of quite a bit like you might the first couple of quarters. Yet, if you get a large influx of new followers, you'll want to look a little more at modifying your strategy because they could change the established patterns. Congratulations, you've learned about the five essentials of creating a social media strategy that will increase your following and reach you and your followers goals. The next lesson, will show you how far reaching your social media efforts can be in reaching your marketing goals. 13. Social Media Adds More Pieces to The Puzzle: In lesson three, we talked about social media being one piece of the puzzle. And the puzzle is marketing communications. By implementing a well-thought through social media strategy, your social media efforts will tie into a lot of other different areas of marketing communications, resulting in huge dividends for your marketing efforts. When you implement the social media strategy that results from this class, you'll have done the following things in marketing communications: You'll have done some market research in the stakeholder lesson And that's going to pay off in all of these other areas that you might do or are doing. It'll inform you on how to engage with your stakeholders and followers no matter whether it's social media, a website, advertising, or something else. You'll project manage your social media strategy over time. Meaning you'll be making sure all your posts get posted, comments get responded to, and modifying the plan after you measure. You'll use technology to implement your strategy, including posting, but also to layout and design your posts and cover photos. You might want to take some of your own photos or buy rights to others to use in your posts. Or you might want to create short videos to add to the variety of posts you have. Social media is actually a free way to advertise. And there are also paid ways to advertise, like Facebook ads. You might create collateral materials, like a flyer for an event that you post in one of your social media posts or a website that you link to in a post. Also on your website and all of your e-mail campaigns You make sure that you put every one of your social media links in the website and email footers so people can get to here social media platforms easily. We can't forget about branding. Your basic brand standards are used on all your social media platforms. So people can readily identify and trust that they're on your pages. And the list could go on and on to writing, messaging and more. Implementing a social media strategy has a much greater reach that it may seem on the surface and pays off in huge marketing dividends. It's worth the investment of time that you have spent and will spend when you intentionally make it a part of the larger picture of marketing communications efforts. Remember this right side of the social media strategy circle is a one-time investment. Once you do all those planning stages, you've set the stage for effective social media posts that can translate into your other marketing efforts. And once you start planning like this in every area of marketing communications, it's going to become intuitive to plan for other things. Next, let's finish this class by looking at the last lesson to discover what you can do now with what you've learned. 14. What's Next: Now that you know what essentials go into creating an effective social media strategy and you have a plan to reach your first social media goal What's next? Well, you have a couple of options. First, I hope everyone posts their class project titled my social media strategy. I'd love to give feedback. So please let me know what you're promoting on social media as well as any questions you have And I'll get back to you. Second, we, Aprosae, will have more videos on marketing related topics, so please follow us. That way, you'll know when they're out If they're not already on our page. We'll have videos that will dig deeper on all five sections of marketing communications. So you can learn tips and tricks on how to actually do marketing. Like what marketing is all about, the basics of advertising, how to brand your marketing venture, website strategy, and more. And lastly, please start posting the posts you planned for in your content calendar. Whatever you do a social media, please remember you can't do it all in a day, nor should you. So congratulations on taking your first step to understanding what makes up a social media strategy so you can reach your goals and engage with your followers even more. Remember, we're here to help you get there. Please post your social media strategy so we can give you feedback And so you'll be one step closer to where you want to be.